Today is the fourth anniversary of The Non-Blonde. I started the blog because I had something to say, and 1465 posts later, I still do. The thing I didn't expect back in April 2006 was how many people would be interested in reading my opinions enough to follow the blog regularly. Had anyone told me back then that every day several thousands would visit The Non Blonde directly and thousands more are going to subscribe to my feed and read it through email, I would have said it was as likely as me wearing green nail polish, straightening my hair, testing eyebrow pencils on my husband, discovering that I smell exactly like a tall guy who lives in Los Angeles or attending press events all over Manhattan...
This blog has taken me places, opened a new world for me and introduced me to some of the most special and wonderful people I have ever met. This is the best part of writing The Non-Blonde. My readers are funny, smart and are very knowledgeable about beauty, fashion and perfume and I've learned a lot from many of you.
I also learned a lesson or two about the (beauty) blogging process, which is what this list is all about:
1. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to.
The best posts are ones that fully reflect my experience, including my emotions. That's exactly what separates a real blog from sites that spout press releases and regurgitate material. I have preferences and opinions, likes and dislikes, and this is where I express them. Which leads us to:
2. You can't be everything to everyone.
Really, you just can't. I write about stuff I find interesting, great, horrible, annoying, sublime...
But I can't cover every brand, style and price point. And I can't (and won't) fake it. Some people would stumble across this blog and dislike, disagree or think that I have the worst taste ever. Others get exactly what I'm saying and share my style and ideas, but even they might occasionally like an aquatic melon perfume. That's life.
3. Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes I start with the product, other times it's a place, a song or a photo that grab me and lead to a different post than what I intended to write . Blogging isn't a scientific process and I can't force it, even when there's a list longer than my arm of products, samples and perfumes to test and review.
4. Trust your gut.
If something doesn't feel right, it most likely isn't. I'm talking about offers, emails, opportunities but also people. After you've been blogging for a while, you get a feel for the industry and those who cover it. It's OK to take a step back, define boundaries and say "No, thank you". That's how I maintain integrity- the blog's and mine.
5. It's easy to feel jaded about the beauty and fragrance industry. Unless you look closely, all you see are the huge companies that buy the full page ads in magazines, maintain an incestuous relationship with the media and seem to have a cynical view regarding bloggers as well as their own consumers. But they are not the only ones making perfume or lipstick. While not all "niche" companies were created equal, there are enough interesting brands that are driven by passion for beauty and quality. Those are the ones that offer real luxury and are worth exploring.
I want to thank each and every one of you for the readership, support and friendship. You're the reason I'm happy to put the weirdest stuff on my face, test every perfume that crosses my path and stay up late to write all about it. Welcome to my fifth year.
Photo by Chris Gin, 2009